The Great Holster Debate

Gun Digest the Magazine review of holsters
…like peanut butter and jelly.

To carry a pistol properly you need a holster. That’s it. Let’s not debate that part. If you shove the gun in your waistband you are going to shoot off your private parts. All those clips and grips with clips and clips on grips, etc don’t work as well as a holster.

And some holsters work better than others. But not all holsters work equally well for all people. You follow so far?

So, for this edition we pulled together a group of our office experts and a big pile of holsters to decide which ones we like the best. The vote went to the cute little unit on the cover… and that Galco is a nice holster, too.

Seriously though, there is never a clear winner when writers rate holsters. It’s not really a head-to-head competition. A holster is a personal thing. Everyone wants something different, which is why most gun owners have a “holster box” somewhere in the gun room. We tend to buy, sell and trade holsters looking for something that works perfectly for our individual needs.

But that is not to say there are not some universal elements that make a holster great. The first is workmanship. That is something you can tell the instant you put your hands on the holsters. Does it feel like it is built well? Are the seams tight and do the attachment points perform as expected? The next element is special features. Is there a lining? How about a guard in the sight channel? I’m big on the quality of snaps and will happily pay extra for good quality snaps that are covered to protect the pistol’s finish. Does the holster have interchangeable paddle/belt attachments? If so are they easy to use and secure?

There are literally too many questions, comments and ideas to list when working on a story like this. And you can be dang sure there are too many holster makers in the world to cover everyone.  We are sorry if we missed your company or your favorite holster. No harm was meant and just because a holster did not make it into this story does not mean it isn’t a great holster.

What we do have here is a representative cross-section of holsters we found we really liked. You will see Kydex and leather, pancakes, IWB, belt clips and paddles, and a couple different types of retention systems. There is even a shoulder rig in the mix.

This story is a starting point for a discussion on holsters. If you want to add your opinion, or show off your favorite piece of gun leather, log on to and check out the great holster debate on the forums page. And if you join up as a member of the site, you get the chance to win some cool stuff in our monthly giveaways.

Either way, it is a great way to learn more about holsters before your “holster box” is filled to overflowing.

Good Shooting,

Kevin Michalowski

This column appeared in the August 16, 2010 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine. Click here to subscribe.